Her Journey’s End

Yesterday morning at 4:50 my Mom died peacefully in her sleep.  She had her 96th birthday last month and she finally was ready to let go and make her transition.  We had a call shortly after from Judy, her caregiver to tell us Mom had died.  It was part expected and in part startled me.  Since the doctor had said she was going into the last stages of dementia, I didn’t know how long she would be with us.  It is a relief and also upsetting; even though I knew Mom didn’t want to be here, that she missed my Dad and her cat Josephine.  Judy asked if I wanted to see her body, but I said No; I wanted to remember her the way she was when I saw her Friday – fast asleep under the covers, looking warm and comfortable and holding the weighted baby doll.

I am not sure what I am feeling or what I need or want – I feel at sixes and sevens, sort of wandering around wondering what I am supposed to do.  I called my sisters to let them know, I spoke to Ellen and had to leave a message for Candy because she wasn’t available.  Eddie had a conference he was helping put on and there was no need for him to stay home.  I think it helped him concentrate on that rather than Mom.  I went to my Breakfast Networking Group – Julia asked why I was there.  I didn’t want to be at home.  I’m so glad I went, this group of people have been there to support, encourage and help me through some difficult times – they are close friends rather than just people with businesses I network with every Wednesday.

I am still alternately calm and teary/drippy, never sure when the drippy will appear.


I’m having trouble settling to anything – I quit writing this because I couldn’t  keep going – usually I go into a flow once I start writing.  I’ve been wondering if writing it out would help – not really sure any more.  I tried having a lie down, to possibly sleep; didn’t happen.  I know I am tired – probably exhausted, but sleeping is not working out very well.  It took me a while to get to sleep last night – then I noticed how stiff and uncomfortable I was.  Not sure what is going on.

Back to the story:

After Breakfast Club I went to see Judy.  She told me Mom was very different on Tuesday, she noticed changes that weren’t there before – she recognized it probably wouldn’t be too long.  She checked on Mom quite often that night and then Mom was gone.  She reassured me that I had done everything I could for Mom and that she feels the loss as well.  She loved my Mom, as she loves all the residents as long as they are there.  It is difficult for her to see them go.  I have tried to tell Judy as often as I can how much I appreciate her, all that she did for Mom and to thank her.  She told me many times that it made such a difference for her to be appreciated – I don’t think too many do that.  She said Mom was a darling and everyone in the house loved her.

I keep meaning to tell Ellen the lilies she sent for Mom’s birthday are still beautiful – they are on the dining room table for everyone to enjoy.  Some have lost their petals, but quite a few are blooming.

I came home  and found a voicemail from Candy – I’m sorry I wasn’t able actually talk to her.  I called the Allens and also John and Luzma to tell them.  I ended up checking my emails and then had a cup of tea and a pear for lunch.  I suddenly felt very sleepy, so I went to lie down for a bit – I think I slept but then the tea kicked in and She Who Must Be Obeyed let me know I needed to get up and use the bathroom.  I went down again for a bit, then Luzma came by.  John had told her when she woke up.  We hugged each other and we sat and talked for a while – she will definitely miss Mom.  She remembers how kind Dad was to her, accepting her and treating her well.  She loved Mom, she said she was like a grandmother to her.  Their shared their gardens and many other things.

I decided I needed to do something, so I worked on the expenses for the business, I have let it go for too long.  it seemed to be the only things I could concentrate on.  Suddenly John and Luzma reappeared, carrying flowers.  She said she knew Mom loved her rose and she thought the house should be filled with roses.  There is one vase is small roses in a deep pink, one vase with red roses and a third vase with apricot roses.  The last vase had white daisies – plus a balloon.  In each vase is a lovely butterfly.  (I’ll put the pictures in another post).

They told me to call them for whatever I need – as soon as I know, I will.  While they were here Eddie called, he was on his way home from the conference, it didn’t last as long as he thought.  I was glad to see him when he came home.  We just had tea and bread – it was later than we usually eat and we were both tired.

I left a message for June, one of the domino ladies and also called and talked to Kathy.  I know there are people to tell but I can’t quite think of them at the moment.  That was Day 1.

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4 Responses to “Her Journey’s End”

  1. Charlotte Trayer Says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Liz, and I’m sorry I didn’t have my cell phone on when you called me yesterday morning. I figured you wouldn’t appreciate a phone call when I finally discovered your message, at almost midnight last night!! So, I waited and called you back this afternoon.

    Your mom is at rest now, and it’s time to take care of yourself again. You have been a good daughter to her, making sure she was safe and cared for, visiting her when you could, bringing her treats of chocolate and cookies. Even though I know this past month has been especially hard, as she started pushing away, etc., you stayed constant, and continued to let her know you loved her and appreciated her.

    Thank you for including me in some of the visits; I loved your mom, too.

    You will probably find yourself easily distracted at times now; this is normal, part of the grieving process, and will eventually that will go away and you’ll be able to concentrate on things again. Just be patient with yourself, allow yourself this time. If I can find it, I will send you a private email with what a Jewish acquaintance told me about grieving in her community; it was so comforting to read it and learn about it, and made me feel like I wasn’t so strange after all, when my mom first died!

    Take care, my dear, and I’ll talk to you soon. love, Char

    • Lee Kaplanian Says:

      You and I have shared many of the same experiences and milestones in life – you have always been there for me and I wanted to be there for you. You have had many wise words for me and here are some more that I so appreciate. (I forgot about calling your home phone). I am sure you understand the feeling of everything feeling normal and suddenly I remember Mom is gone. It is something I wanted for her because she was in pain and missed Dad and her cat so much – she didn’t want to be here. There is part of me who is relieved I don’t have to go visit her any more, watching her decline. I thought it would be a drawn out process, I am so glad it wasn’t.

      You are right, I am wandering around aimlessly, thinking I have things I have to do – I don’t know what those things are. I worked with Dave, the attorney to make sure everything was put in place quite a while ago; plus Mom made sure about her will and then about her cremation – I don’t have to scramble to put something together.

      You are an amazing friend!

  2. Charlotte Trayer Says:

    Thanks, Liz. So are you.

    Yes, I’m glad it wasn’t a long drawn-out process for her–it would have been hard on her as well as all of you. Been there, done that, with my own mom, and it’s not easy.

    I’m glad she had things already in place, too–certainly makes that part of it easier for you. A few years before my folks died, I sat down with daddy and we planned mom’s funeral. I started to do his, too, but we only got a little way, and the conversation veered to other things. I knew him so well, though, that it was easy to plan the rest of his service. (and when we went to Solie’s to set things in motion for mom’s service, my brother was So Surprised when I already had the list of hymns, etc. for her service!!!)

    Take care of yourself, and get extra rest (even if you can’t sleep, just resting sometimes is enough), and good nutrition. love, Char

    • Lee Kaplanian Says:

      You always know the right things to say. I had my haircut yesterday and just walked around Southcenter to have some physical exercise. Otherwise, I was working on letting myself relax and not feel I have to be doing.

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